Toad in the Hole

April 16, 2006

When the weather's like this YES IT'S RAINING AGAIN it's hard to remember that it ever gets as dry as this:


It's like being really sick and imagining what it feels like to be healthy and lively and running around easily and being all spritely, or even wanting to be that energetic. Just, you can't conjure it up.

The pic is a cow pond on the trail to Abbott's Lagoon on Point Reyes, taken last July. What's special about this cow pond is that we've seen red-legged frogs in it -- one of those rare and endangered species. We've also seen assorted rails there over the years (hope they're not eating too many frogs) and it's a good stop to take in the view on all sides: pasture and chaparral and a bigger freshwater pond; the lagoon's mostly out of sight, waiting to show itself after another quarter-mile walk. There are tons of quail and goldfinches and harriers and redtails, white- and golden-crowned sparrows in winter, song and savanna sparrows always, osprey scanning the bigger pond on their way to the lagoon and the ocean and turkey vulture stacks over the whole scene. We've seen ferruginous hawk and coyote when there was a vole boom or when the farmer across the road was plowing to plant pasture grass.

There are some places we go just because we never know what will turn up. We saw a baby California red-sided gartersnake(Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis) on that path, too, and were too entranced by its tiny aggression and general grouchy-garter-snake attitude (Stebbins calls the species "spirited") to get a photo. It actually threw itself at me repeatedly, sometimed almost flipping itself over -- and it was maybe four inches long. It was like being bluffed by a shoelace.

One of my favorite flowers, cobweb thistle, blooms there every year:


And it gets worked intensively by, among other people, the native bumblebees:

BB, CWT2,7.05

This one has big orange pollen jodhpurs on.

One of those spots that are unassuming, but when you get to know them, are irresistible because of the things you remember seeing there. The fun part is that there's usually something else too.

Posted at April 16, 2006 06:43 AM


"Bluffed by a shoelace" and "pollen jodphurs," that makes me laugh. I really appreciate someone with a good grasp of metaphor, because as near as I can figure from having studied the cognitive basis of metaphor, it means their head's screwed on relatively straight. :)

Posted by: Interrobang at April 18, 2006 12:46 AM

Glad you liked that. It's funny: from my experience with clinically-officially-crazy-locked-up people, I used to say that one bad sign was taking one's metaphors literally. (I think we're agreeing here.)

Posted by: Ron at April 18, 2006 03:25 AM

Aggressive shoelaces - too funny. I didn't know that about garter snakes!

Posted by: Rurality at April 18, 2006 01:24 PM